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Department of Physical Education records

 Series — Box: 1
Identifier: RG 18-27

Scope and Contents

The Physical Education Department records consist of announcements, brochures, schedules, reports, correspondence, course records, publications, information related to special events and conferences, publicity records, posters, scrapbooks, photograph albums and photographs, slides, and negatives. The records document physical education-related activities at Mount Holyoke since 1863. Most of the records reflect the creation and development, and activities of the Physical Education Department since 1930.


  • Creation: 1863 - 2019
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1930 - 2019

Conditions Governing Access

Records restricted to use by office/department of origin for 25 years from date of record creation.

Historical Note

Physical education has been an integral part of the Mount Holyoke curriculum since the founding of the Seminary in 1837. The addition of a gymnasium wing onto the Seminary Building in 1865 marked the beginning of physical education as a distinct program at Mount Holyoke. Beginning in the 1870/1871 academic year the school offered gymnastics instruction for students. In 1884/1885 the physiology and hygiene course of study was established. This course was renamed physical culture in 1891/1892 and changed again in 1897/1898 to the anatomy, physiology and hygiene course. In 1899 a gymnasium was built (later called Blanchard) and the anatomy, physiology and hygiene course was replaced with a physical training requirement. The physical training requirement originally focused on instruction in gymnastics but it later expanded to include fencing and dance. In 1912/1913 the requirement was changed back to a course of study and was called hygiene and physical training. The name was changed again in 1916/1917 to the hygiene and physical education course of instruction. In 1928/1929 the Hygiene and Physical Education Department was established; Hope Wentworth Narey became its first director. While the department remained under one name it was subdivided in 1939/1940 and both the Hygiene and the Physical Education divisions named directors. Mount Holyoke opened a new physical education facility, Kendall Hall, in 1950. Over the years Mount Holyoke made many additions to the physical education program including, field hockey, archery, canoeing, basketball, swimming, dance, golf, baseball, and horseback riding. In addition, Mount Holyoke has hosted numerous recreational events and competitions such as gymnastics meets, "field day" competitions, winter carnivals and horse shows. In 1955/1956 the department officially split in two: the Health and Hygiene Department and the Physical Education Department. Until 1960/1961 a course in combined personal hygiene and public health was required of all students at the College. In the 1961/1962 academic year the Health and Hygiene Department, which at this time only offered one course, was disbanded. Under the same title of "Health and Hygiene", the course shifted its focus from personal hygiene to public health and was offered as an elective. In 1965/1966 the Physical Education Department became the Physical Education and Dance Department. The name changed again in 1970/1971 when the Dance Department was established as a Five-College department of study. Kendall Hall was renovated and expanded in 1985/1986 and renamed the Kendall Sports and Dance Complex. In 1987 the College's riding facilities were relocated and enlarged with the construction of The Equestrian Center. The Physical Education Department changed its name in 1989/1990 to the Physical Education and Athletics Department. In 1991/1992 the health and hygiene course was renamed health, and in 1993/1994 health was eliminated from the course of study. The Physical Education and Athletics Department continues to be an active part of Mount Holyoke today, offering both instruction in physical education and opportunities to belong to athletic teams. More recent records reflect new student interests such as rugby and ice hockey.


25.72 Linear Feet (25 full Hollinger, 2 half Hollinger, and 12 specialty boxes)

Language of Materials



Department of Physical Education records date from 1863 to the present and reflect Mount Holyoke's long history of providing students with opportunities for exercise and participation in athletics and dance. Materials consist of reports, minutes, subject files, course records, publications, announcements, press releases, scrapbooks, schedules, and photographs in several different formats.


Arranged in 3 series: Series 1. Records, 1863-present. Series 2. Records, 1864-1983. Series 3. Records, 1926-1995.

Genre / Form


Department of Physical Education Records, 1863-present (bulk 1930-present)
Edited Full Draft
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections Repository

50 College Street
8 Dwight Hall
South Hadley MA 01075-6425 USA